Every seventh year you must cancel all debts. This is how the cancellation is to be handled: Creditors will forgive the loans of their fellow Israelites. They won’t demand repayment from their neighbors or their relatives because the Lord’s year of debt cancellation has been announced.
Not only is this very explicit, it is reinforced a few verses later in 15:9
But watch yourself! Make sure no wicked thought crosses your mind, such as, The seventh year is coming—the year of debt cancellation—so that you resent your poor fellow Israelites and don’t give them anything. If you do that, they will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.
Couple that with the Jubilee Year where all land reverts back to its original owner every fifty years, and this is a completely different understanding of economics, prosperity, ownership, and success. This is a vision of stewardship rather than ownership. It is a vision where God owns all things and we are entrusted with them for a time.
I have often wondered what it would look like if a community actually put this kind of economics into practice. There is still the potential for financial gain–in fact God says as much in promising blessings if it is followed. One consequence would be that the cycle of systemic generational poverty could potentially be broken. If all debts were cancelled every seven years people would not remain in debt. If all property were redeemed and returned every fifty years all families would have an opportunity to restart their lives every second generation.
I wonder if that would even be possible in the world as it is today.